Top 5 Qualities of a Good Lawyer
To become a lawyer is to become a man/woman of many hats. Law schools will teach you some of the skills you need, but they can't teach character. In order to become a "good" lawyer, you have to naturally have certain qualities. Some of these qualities you've discovered within yourself in your time as a law student, but others may need to be worked on.
Many lawyers just appear to be good at what they do on the surface, but you can quickly realize the truth behind them. All lawyers must have certain skills in order to be a successful and, in turn, a good lawyer. So what differentiates a “lawyer” from a “good lawyer”? Here are the top 5 qualities of a good lawyer: responsiveness, analytical skills, good research skills, speaking skills, and listening skills.
5. Analytical Skills – All lawyers should be able to look at any situation and analyze it from all points of view. Criminal defense attorneys have to look at the case from the view of the prosecutor, and vice versa. All lawyers must be able to take in large amounts of information at a time, organize it, and understand it on the spot. When a case is in session, curveballs will likely be thrown and they have to be able to interpret and respond to them appropriately.
4. Responsiveness – This is a skill that not every lawyer has, which a lot of clients find out about quickly. All lawyers should respond to their clients, law partners, secretaries, and anyone else involved in a case. Putting off a conversation or not being readily available as often as possible can result in a failed case because the information the client wants to provide is crucial to the case’s integrity.
3. Research and Investigation Skills – Finding authoritative information on the Web, as well as finding appropriate information in books can be a difficult thing to do in a short period of time. Lawyers will tell you that when they went through law school, there were a lot of research papers. A lawyer’s opinion does not stand up in court, so it must be backed with facts. That’s where the research and investigation comes in. All lawyers should know how to work with investigators, use online resources, research laws, regulations, and judicial opinions to back their case up. Following the research is the presentation and delivery of the information.
2. Speaking Skills – All lawyers must be able to speak clearly and concisely. A lot of lawyers are comfortable in front of a large group of people, but they lack the ability to form a logical thought that gets his/her point across. Another aspect of speaking skills is to understand legal terminology. Legal professionals have to be able to understand and explain the terminology to the client. If you can’t understand your lawyer, then neither can the jury.
1. Listening Skills – In order to properly understand the case, all lawyers must listen to their clients. Without listening skills, the lawyer will miss pertinent information. For the strongest case possible, the lawyer must understand every aspect of the case and look at it from all angles.
If you’re a student looking for advice on how to be a good lawyer, start by analyzing yourself. If you find that you don't have 1 or more of these qualities, then consider working on them. You will use each of these every single day. The last thing someone wants is a lawyer who will misrepresent their case!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ryan Gavin
Ryan Gavin is an affiliate of the Law Offices of Blackford & Flohr, LLC.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.